Railroad engineers look for safety options at deadly Roane Co. c

Railroad engineers look for safety options at deadly Roane Co. crossing

Posted:
Engineers were in Roane County Wednesday for just a standard visit, but the Roane County Highway Superintendent Dennis Ferguson asked them to check out this deadly crossing. Engineers were in Roane County Wednesday for just a standard visit, but the Roane County Highway Superintendent Dennis Ferguson asked them to check out this deadly crossing.
At the Mountain View Drive crossing, eight to 10 trains traveling nearly 40 miles per hour pass through every day and a sign serves as the only warning. At the Mountain View Drive crossing, eight to 10 trains traveling nearly 40 miles per hour pass through every day and a sign serves as the only warning.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) - What can be done to make a deadly railroad crossing in Roane County safer? That's what some people are asking and they may get answers in the near future.

Railroad engineers visited several crossings in the county Wednesday, making safety suggestions about the Mountain View Road crossing. That's where a tragic accident last month killed Jadah Gallaher, 18, when a train hit the car she was riding in. Rod Drummond, 22, also died and Jadah's brother, Darius along with Hunter Crass were seriously injured.

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Engineers were in Roane County Wednesday for just a standard visit, but the Roane County Highway Superintendent Dennis Ferguson asked them to check out this deadly crossing.

At the Mountain View Drive crossing, eight to 10 trains traveling nearly 40 miles per hour pass through every day and a sign serves as the only warning.

"That's the crossing that we're trying to get a safety grant to see if it warrants for the crossing bars or safety lights, but that's not a quick process. That's a process that could take up to about a year to get done," said Ferguson.

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The Roane County Highway Department is having railroad engineers look for safety options. One engineer suggested that the crossing be closed because the neighborhood has other access roads.

Before any changes are made, the highway department will make recommendations to County Commission, talk to residents in the neighborhood, and then meet with the engineers to move forward.

Homeowners who live in the neighborhood behind the crossing say it has always been dangerous.

"We definitely need the railroad barriers and we'd like to have the lights as well," said Darlene Taylor.

Some say any improvement is a smart move so that a deadly accident doesn't happen again.

"It's tragic and it's something that shouldn't have had to happen," added Jill Peters.

The Roane County Highway Department hopes to bring back this engineering crew to visit each railroad crossing in the county for possible safety improvements.

Before getting safety barriers, engineers take into account how many cars and trains pass through, visibility, speed, and which barrier would work best.

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